Being an Adult [en]

Being an adult isn’t easy.

[fr] Est-ce difficile, d'être un adulte? On ne se réveille pas un matin magiquement 'adulte'. La vie ne devient pas plus facile parce qu'on a déjà  fêté certains anniversaires. Il y a toujours un effort à  fournir. Je pense que l'on se retrouve finalement toujours aussi démunis face aux étapes de la vie. Grandir, c'est apprendre à  affronter l'inconnu. Et ça a quelque chose d'effrayant.

‘Is it hard to be an adult?’ he said. ‘It’s certainly better than being a kid. You can’t get in trouble with your parents. And you don’t have homework.’

He’s thirteen. Yes, being a teenager is tough. I see it in my classes, and hear it from my students too. Some of them are voicing it on their weblogs already. Can’t do what you want. Can’t say everything. Have to do as your told.

I find being an adult isn’t easy either. Homework disappears, but is replaced to all these things we ‘have to do’: taxes, shopping, cooking, cleaning, paying bills. And if you’re lucky enough to be a teacher, you almost get real homework: tests to correct and classes to prepare. I spend more time at my ‘homework’ than the kids I teach — that will change, but this year, I certainly am.

Yes, it’s hard being an adult. You don’t wake up one morning suddenly ‘adult’, and magically up to it. You remain yourself. You learn how to pay the bills, cook, clean up, live without your parents, but all in all, there is never a clear line crossed into adulthood. You carry who you are with you at all times.

I’ve long lived in the illusion that life would suddenly one day become ‘easy’, that things would fall into place and all the tough stuff would just vanish. I now know that is not how life goes. Life is always challenging. Growing up is learning to deal with those challenges. But the tough times don’t go away.

The first real insight I had about what ‘being an adult’ meant was during one of my early conversations with Aleika, in India. She was telling me how being a parent isn’t something one can be really prepared for. As a kid, we always think our parents know what they are doing — but as a first-time parent, you just do what you can. You don’t know much more than before the baby arrived. You’re not transformed into another person because you just gave birth.

And it goes on. Becoming a grandparent and growing old is also a first-time experience for those who go through it. I think no stage in life is really easy. Growing up is about taking risks. Doing things you’re not really fully prepared to do. Taking responsability for your actions and your life. It’s exciting, and it’s frightening.

La vie n’est pas un long fleuve tranquille.

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A Brief Update [en]

A very brief summary of my first four weeks of teaching. Tired, difficult, but I’m OK.

[fr] Un très bref état des lieux après quatre semaines d'enseignement. Fatiguée mais vivante. Vacances d'automne en vue. Pas beaucoup de temps ni d'énergie pour le weblog ou ma vie sociale.

I’ve started teaching. Four weeks have gone by already. I’m exhausted, physically and emotionally, and looking forward to the time when everything will be running smoother.

I’m finding it harder than expected. Teenagers (13-14) aren’t easy, and as all my colleagues have told me, the first year is always tough. No exception for me.

It’s a new experience for me to be teaching English and French. I’ve had to lower my expectations a lot, and I expect to lower them yet more. I’m flabbergasted at how much difficulty many pupils have at following simple instructions.

We’ve started a weblog project, as I mentioned previously, and it seems to be starting off not too badly. This gave me a chance to have a peek at the non-school weblogs a few of the pupils have set up on — I doubt many of the parents are aware of what their children are posting online (lots of photographs, personal information, and sometimes also sexually explicit stuff).

I haven’t been having much social life lately, and I feel drained enough that I don’t have much to write here. I’m OK though, no need for concern. Things will start falling into place (I’m already used to getting up at 5:45 every morning), I’ll soon be a bit less tired and emotionally stressed, and more visible to those (online or offline) around me. Three weeks to go until autumn holidays.

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Sunday CD's #1 [en]

Five CD’s I own: Live in Dublin by Chris de Burgh, Dil Chahta Hai soundtrack, Asia (eponym album), Rebel by John Miles, and Stereotomy by The Alan Parsons Project. More next week!

Stephanie made me notice yesterday that she had not really figured out what music I liked. In a sudden surge of inspiration, I had an idea for a little game I’m going to play with you these next weeks. Feel free to copy and repeat for yourself!

I’ll try to pick 5 CD’s out of my CD-rack each Sunday (the one currently in my CD player and four more as randomly as possible, with my eyes closed). I’ll list them and tell you in a few words why I have this CD in my CD-rack, if I listen to it a lot, how much I like it — in short, what it means to me. In other words, this amounts to using my CD collection to give you a little insight into my musical tastes, history and culture.

So here goes, 5 CD’s for today:

Chris de Burgh: High on Emotion — Live from Dublin (playing)
This is one of the last batch of 5€ CD’s I ordered at Amazon after Christmas. Chris de Burgh was my second “favorite singer” when I was ten or so (after Joan Baez). We had lots of Chris de Burgh LP’s and cassettes at my parents, which I left behind as I moved out, and now (thanks to Amazon) I’m re-building my collection. I like Live albums in general, so I picked this one up — and I don’t regret it.
Dil Chahta Hai soundtrack
During my previous trip to India, I went to see one hindi movie: Dil Chahta Hai. As usual, I bought the soundtrack as a souvenir. I remember I used to listen to it a lot when I started work just after the trip, and it still makes me India-nostalgic when I listen to it. There are some really nice songs on it (like the title song of course, and I have a soft spot for “Tanhayee” — and Sonu Nigam’s voice.)
Asia: Asia
This is another album I picked out of my father’s extensive LP collection when I was a (pre-)teenager. Probably I heard him playing it once, and noted I liked it. I used to play the LP in the kitchen when I was cleaning up after evening meals. I made myself a cassette with my father’s two Asia LP’s, and listened to it in my room a lot. I bought the CD recently (in one of those “cheap CD” boxes in a store) for historical reasons, and I listen to it every now and again.
John Miles: Rebel
I just love the song “Music” (another one I discovered through my father’s LP’s) and bought the CD just for that song, in another “cheap CD” box. I’m not sure I’ve ever listened to the whole album since I bought it. But I own it 🙂
The Alan Parsons Project: Stereotomy
Yet another out of my father’s collection and my teenage years (they all seem to come out from there, don’t they?) I haven’t listened to it for ages, but I really like all the songs on it. When I was in Gymnase (the swiss equivalent of High School), I had it on a cassette with “Eye on the Sky” and used to listen to it on my walkman, during one cold Lausanne winter.

That’s it for today, folks! Today’s choice gives the impression that all my musical culture comes from my father’s LP collection (not entirely wrong, but not entirely right either), and that I buy all my CD’s at discount prices (pretty correct, actually — I go on CD-shopping binges when they are anywhere below the normal presposterous prices.)

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